James Connolly and the Irish Left

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Irish Academic Press, 1994 - History - 200 pages
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James Connolly is a major figure not only in Irish history but also on the broader canvas of international socialism. A man of many parts - militant labour organiser, socialist leader, military commander, newspaper editor, writer, political theorist - his life's work was dedicated to the establishment of an Irish Republic as well as to socialist revolution, and as such provides a fascinating example, one might even say 'model', of a revolutionary life. This book examines Connolly's political theory and practice as it developed over the quarter-century of his active commitment to socialist revolution, and then explores the extent to which his political legacy provided the Irish Left with a practical and theoretical instrument of revolutionary socialism.
The questions which concerned Connolly related to the immediate problems and demands of effective labour organisation and revolutionary strategy - pressing problems which he encountered during his daily activities as a labour leader and revolutionary. He was always willing to learn from experience and to grasp new opportunities whenever they arose. This, of course, meant that his political positions altered over time, and that his thoughts and writings on issues underwent considerable change over the years. The first part of the book charts and analyses those changes.
A political figure of Connolly's stature was bound to exert some influence on Irish political life and on the Irish Left in particular and the second part of the book is devoted to an exploration and assessment of the nature and extent of this impact.

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About the author (1994)

Dr. Bill Anderson is a Research Fellow and Lecturer at the National Centre for Australian Studies at Monash University in Melbourne.

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